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Kejriwal sends letters to city’s elderly

PUBLISHED ON NOV 26, 2019 12:05 AM IST

New Delhi:

Ahead of the state assembly elections, senior citizens across the national Capital are receiving personalised letters from chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, informing them about the Delhi government’s free-pilgrimage scheme.

The Delhi government is sending the letters to every household having an elderly voter via speed post. “You must be thinking why we are doing all these things. There is virtue in tending to the elderly. There is a lot of power in the blessings of the elderly. Respecting and serving senior citizens leads to a prosperous society and country,” read the concluding lines of the letter, seen by HT, addressed to one Anita Devi (66) of Mayur Vihar Phase II.

The Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Yojana, announced days after the Lok Sabha election results were declared earlier this year, has facilitated the journeys of around 27,000 pilgrims in 27 batches so far.

Around 43,000 applicants are still in the queue to avail of the scheme’s benefits, Kamal Bansal, the officer in-charge of the scheme, said.

Records with the state election commission show Delhi has at least 18.50 lakh senior citizens (60 and above) registered as voters. Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled early next year.

Another elderly person from Vasant Kunj, who did not wish to be named, said he got to know about the scheme through the CM’s letter. “When I first saw the envelope from the Delhi government, I got scared, thinking it would be a notice or something. But the letter in the chief minister’s official gold embossed letterhead, came as a pleasant surprise. It certainly made me and my wife feel special though we don’t need to avail of the scheme,” he said.

Asked how the government was identifying such senior citizens and their addresses, a senior government official said the administration already had such a database, be it for electoral purposes or disbursing various state government schemes.

Kejriwal’s signed letter read, “The Delhi government has made good arrangements for your travel, accommodation, sightseeing and food. We will take you in AC trains from Delhi and keep you in good hotels there. Buses will also be arranged for city tours there. We will not let you face any kind of problem during the trip.”

Currently, the scheme includes 12 pilgrimage routes. The destinations include Amritsar-Wagah, Amarnath, Rameswaram-Madurai, Tirupathi, Dwarkadhish-Nageshwar, Puri, Shirdi-Shani Shingnapur, Ujjain and Bodh Gaya-Sarnath. Under the scheme, senior citizens are allowed to travel with an attendant.

Officials said the Rameswaram-Madurai route, which is an eight-day tour, is the most sought after.

The government had planned to send such similar notes from Kejriwal on free power and water by attaching them with electricity bills of households. But the plan couldn’t materialise because of objections from a few departments.

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